Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Subscribe: Get 6 Issues For £15
Get Empire magazine today and save money!
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Lily Collins
Jamie Campbell Bower
Robert Sheehan.
Directors
Harald Zwart.
Screenwriters
Jessica Postigo.
Running Time
TBC minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
Bad to the bone


submit to reddit


Plot
Clary (Collins) sees a mysterious hooded man called Jace (Campbell Bower) stab someone in a nightclub, but no one else can see him. Soon she learns that she and he are part of a race called Shadowhunters, dedicated to protecting humanity from demons.


Review
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

Teenage girl, hunky brooding boy, supernatural elements, love triangle – yes, it’s another Twilight wannabe, and one with characters so paper-thin and dialogue so muddled that it will make you nostalgic for R.Pattz. Adapted from the first of Cassandra Clare’s series of young adult novels, this is clearly intended to launch a franchise (Sigourney Weaver’s lined up for the sequel) but just like the characters, who barely listen to one another judging by their barely connected remarks, cinema audiences seem unlikely to pay this much attention.

The standard-issue vampires and werewolves among us are joined here by part-angelic “Shadowhunters”, who gain super-power by doodling on themselves with sonic screwdrivers and who hunt demons when not brooding handsomely. It emerges that the previous generation, including Lena Headey as Clary’s mother and Aidan Turner as werewolf Luke, have lots of soapy conflict that spreads into their children’s lives when young Clary discovers that she’s part of this mysterious group.

Collins’ Clary, not so much a character as a situation, is introduced to Jamie Campbell Bower’s Jace, who tries desperately to inject some humour while saddled with boring exposition and a laughably pseudo-tragic backstory. Then there’s Kevin Zeger’s Alec, whose role is solely to grab people in doorways and threaten them, and Isabelle, who’s given less exposition than her wardrobe. Jared Harris is the housebound leader of the bunch, trying desperately to add gravitas, but Jonathan Rhys-Meyers isn’t even trying for subtlety as big bad Valentine. The film at least sidesteps the book’s icky incest sub-plot, but any credit it gets as a result is squandered when it downplays the gay romance as well.

Fans of the book may follow as the plot races along with little explanation between action beats, but everyone else will be left wondering when Hogwarts moved to New York, what the hell is at stake amid all the brawling and whether the tone is meant to be serious or tongue-in-cheek. Despite some good effects and design work, it’s a disappointing result for a moderately entertaining book.


Verdict
Apparently unable to decide whether to take its own mythology seriously or not, this is a mess of sculpted cheekbones and incoherent romance.


Reviewed by Helen O'Hara

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
Empire Star Rating

Tomorrow it might be quite nice to have some dry ice...

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a decent telling of a half-decent story. The part that's reminiscent of Nightbreed is hugely enjoyable; the part that's reminiscent of Twilight is hugely tedious. It succeeds fairly well, but the least said about the 'Deus Ex Sonic Screwdriver', the better... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 22:07, 25 August 2013 | Report This Post


Serviceable Fantasy Film

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a perfectly serviceable fantasy film that I felt is harshly criticised on Rotten Tomatoes. There have been much wrongs films in the genre and this year. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones has been compared to Twilight but if anything it is much more like Harry Potter and City of Bones is better then the Twilight films. I personally really enjoyed the dark, gothic imaginary that was used and it a 3/5 film. http://www.entertainmentfuse.com/movies/movies-... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by freemantle_uk at 18:34, 22 August 2013 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

The Empire Podcast #128: Interviews With Sir Roger Moore And George MacKay
Plus we say goodbye to Richard Kiel and the British Expendables are assembled...

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)